By Liz Welch
Anna is sitting in a New York café, sipping an English Breakfast tea. Dressed in patterned tights and a black sweaterdress, the 20-something Smith College grad has auburn curls and big brown eyes. Pretty? Yes. Sexy? Sure. Sex addict? No way. But she's currently being treated for sex addiction, seeing a therapist once a week and attending daily support groups, after an affair last year almost ruined her marriage and landed her in sex rehab. "I always knew I focused too much on...
Used to be, you'd have to ride out your curiosity about whether this guy or gal is The One. You'd bide your time, look for little clues (Does he talk about you favorably with the old married friends who fixed you up? Does she invite you along to family parties, or say you'd just be bored?).
That's so 90s. These days, predicting the success of relationships has become less of a gut instinct related to whether you both drool over shrimp scampi, or the same web sites. If you want to know whether you're headed into a long, happy union, or destined to part, let go of those romantic, old-fashioned notions and take a long, hard look at the science of your relationship.
More science, less crystal ball
While you've been fussing over what to wear, whether to comb over the bald spot, and whether those dating rulebooks deserve any attention, a new breed of relationship experts has been watching. Maybe they aren't watching you and your string of never-to-be-seen-again dates, but they've been eyeing plenty of other newly coupled couples, or those hoping to become couples, trying to predict who is well matched and who's not.
And now, they've got some answers. Indeed, so sure are some of these researchers about the science of predicting relationship success, they teach it to other therapists for use in premarital or couples counseling sessions. But anyone wondering if Mr. or Ms. Great Date will become Mr. or Ms. Great Mate can make use of the information they have uncovered, and draw some conclusions on their own.